Just after my 12th birthday, much to my dismay, we moved from California to a very, very small town in Oregon. Where I had been used to living on a street with children living next door, across and down the block, now my nearest playmate (and best friend) lived 5 miles away.
She lived on a farm, as many of my friends and classmates, and it was there I had my first introduction to this juicy, red fruit called a Raspberry. In fact, my first taste every season always brings me back to that sweet moment of youth and the friendship that remains, over 35 years later.
Luckily for us, a Raspberry bush came up near the stairs of our deck, so foraging it has been easy. We’re not sure if the former owner planted the bush or if it’s a volunteer. Either way, it’s been a delight to harvest enough to snack on, serve with desserts and even make some delicious Raspberry Sauce.
I call it a “sauce” because it contains the entire berry, sans the seeds, which makes it thick, cloudy and delicious. The process for syrup is similar, contains a bit more sugar and is clear because the pulp was left out.
Side note: we are still unpacking and I wasn’t able to find my lemon juice; the 20-minute drive to the nearest market was out of the question, so I improvised and used what I had on hand: 2 packets of True Lemon. It worked just fine.
Raspberries (Rubus Idaeus) are part of the large Rosaceae (the Rose) family, which includes: apples, peaches, cherry, plum, strawberries & blackberries, and I think are one of the most delicious parts of summer, Red Raspberries (and their leaves), have quite a few medicinal qualities.
The ripe berries are high in vitamins A, B, C and E and have been used for indigestion and rheumatism and as a diuretic. The leaves, having astringent qualities, and have been used to treat sore throats, mouth sores, skin irritations and mild diarrhea. They are said to stimulate the uterus and support uterine and prostate health.
The best time to harvest the young leaves is before the plant blooms. You can allow them to air dry or like me, use a dehydrator. Once they are dry and crumbly, store them in a glass jar away from sunlight.
The tea tastes similar to a mild green tea. I steep a teaspoon of the dry leaf (I make a mixture that includes some dried berry) in hot water for 5 minutes, and enjoy!
Raspberries. How do you use them? Food? Medicine? Both? Please leave a comment below and share a recipe or tip.
(Disclaimer: I am not a Physician nor am I Certified Herbalist. The information provided on this site has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent conditions, illnesses or diseases, it is purely anecdotal and stem from my own personal fascination with the natural world around me. I use the following for my research: Peterson Field Guides – Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs, The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody, books and videos by Rosemary Gladstar and Susun Weed, as well as various internet posts. I encourage you to do your own research. Before trying any herbal remedy, consult a physician or certified medical professional to make sure it is safe for you to use.)
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